Princess Leia #2 comes packed with familiar settings, familiar faces, and some swashbuckling action. There are some parts that really shined some light on Leia but there were also some parts that didn’t quite hit the high mark.
On their way to Naboo, Leia has a few flashbacks of her childhood. In addition to giving my daughter inspiration for what may be the easiest Leia costume ever, the flashbacks were definitely a great insight into Leia’s life. We see a bit of her upbringing, the lessons Bail taught her, and why she is dedicated to her cause. It did remind me a little of Brave with the whole young princess wanting to be free of responsibility but I don’t mean that as a bad thing. There’s been a few Legends comics that were similar and I always imagined that as a part of her character so although we now have many other pop culture women with similar backstories I think it fits Leia perfectly and in all honesty…. she came first. It’s also heartbreaking to see how much she feels she failed her people.
Arriving at Naboo there’s a strange moment where Leia sees a mural of Queen Amidala. The image moves to look at her before Leia realizes it was her “imagination.” This says a few things to me. Leia at this point does NOT know the identity of her real mother yet seeing an image of her stirs something inside either Leia or the Force… or both. It’s very interesting to me and I’m curious to see if this was just an isolated easter egg of sorts or the beginning of Leia unraveling a mystery. In ROTJ Leia responds to Luke’s “real mother” question in a way that leads me to believe at that point she knows something more than just Bail and Breha.
The small “Alderaanian cloister” is a small artistic community that seems to center on music. I actually like the idea that the culture storngly supports the arts and I think it makes sense that that kind of culture would feel extremely oppressed by the Empire. I also think it makes a nice similarity between Alderaan and Naboo. I’m glad that the worlds in Star Wars have their own customs, cultures, and identities.
A double crossing contact puts Leia and Evaan in a tough spot with a few besalisks. While the action was a bit campy I don’t think it’s any more “cartoony” than things we’ve seen in The Clone Wars. It played out and led to Leia finding her people before moving on to the next stop.
All in all this is definitely not Marvel’s strongest piece thus far. While I enjoyed it better the second time around I think maybe all the side stories sort of muddied up the narrative a bit. The interaction between Evaan and Leia still feels a bit stiff and disjointed. I’m okay that Evaan doesn’t like/agree with Leia but I’d really like to see more levels to her character. I feel this issue reads like an episode of The Clone Wars. The art is still wonderful and I absolutely loved the depictions of young Leia. Dodson is still capturing that fire only Leia has. The strongest pieces here are the flashbacks. That definitely saved the issue and was actually the part that I found myself wanting to go back and re-read (and probably added a point to the score). I LOVED seeing into Leia’s upbringing and important lessons that Bail taught her. It’s worth a read but I hope the issues get better from here on out.